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Human Trafficking Federal Anti-Trafficking Laws

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 was the first comprehensive federal law to address trafficking in persons. The law provides a three-pronged approach that includes prevention, protection, and prosecution. The TVPA was reauthorized through the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Acts (TVPRA) of 2003, 2005, 2008, and 2013. Under U.S. federal law, “severe forms of trafficking in persons” includes both sex trafficking and labor trafficking:

  • Sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age, (22 USC § 7102; 8 CFR § 214.11(a)).
  • Labor trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery, (22 USC § 7102).

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(a) Purposes
The purposes of this chapter are to combat trafficking in persons, a contemporary manifestation of slavery whose victims are predominantly women and children, to ensure just and effective punishment of traffickers, and to protect their victims.


Gov. Rick Perry signed two bills creating stiffer penalties for individuals who commit human trafficking in Texas, House Bill 3000 and Senate Bill 24.

House Bill (HB) 3000 creates a new first-degree felony in the Penal Code called Continuous Trafficking of Persons, which applies to individuals who commit two or more acts of human trafficking in a period of 30 days or more. Under HB 3000, the punishment range for a first time offender is 25-99 years or life imprisonment, and a fine up to $10,000. If convicted a second time, the offense carries a punishment of life without parole. HB 3000 also adds Continuous Trafficking of Persons to the list of offenses that do not have a limitation period for filing charges, alters parole consideration and requires a vote of two-thirds of the members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles before release, and further limits bail and bond considerations for a person charged with Continuous Trafficking of Persons.

The Senate Bill 24 and House Bill 3000 will allow for a more comprehensive response to the devastating crime of human trafficking, an approach that will ultimately save lives.

Senate Bill 24 contains proposals from the Attorney General’s Task Force on Human Trafficking, including creating a new offense for compelling prostitution for adult and child victims, stronger parole requirements for trafficking offenses that require offenders to serve longer prison time, eliminating release on mandatory supervision, and stronger restrictions on bond release. The bill also designates two prosecutable forms of human trafficking – forced labor and forced sexual acts – and applies the first degree felony punishment of 5-99 years or life and a fine up to $10,000 if a child is the victim of either form of trafficking.


Texas Penal Code – Section 20A.02. Trafficking Of Persons


(a) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly traffics another person with the intent that the trafficked person engage in:

(1) forced labor or services; or

(2) conduct that constitutes an offense under Chapter 43.

(b) Except as otherwise provided by this subsection, an offense under this section is a felony of the second degree. An offense under this section is a felony of the first degree if:

(1) the offense is committed undhumantrafficking_03er Subsection (a)(2)
and the person who is trafficked is younger than 14 years of age at
the time of the offense; or

(2) the commission of the offense results in the death
of the person who is trafficked.

(c) If conduct constituting an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under another section of this code, the actor may be prosecuted under either section or under both sections.


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